Destination Spotlight: Positano, Italy

The famed village of Positano, Italy is picturesquely perched between the mountains and the Mediterranean Ocean, along the Amalfi Coast. While only a humble fishing village less than 100 years ago, today, Positano is a traveler’s favorite in Europe. Many travelers choose to stay in Sorrento and just day trip to Positano. However, we prefer to set up our base for exploring in Positano. We love staying in Positano, Italy, since the best times of the day in this busy town are the early mornings and evenings.

Open from Easter to mid-October each year, Positano is most busy from April through August. We were lucky enough to visit in late September, maximizing both great weather and low crowds. That being said, as long as you decide to stay in a hotel with a relaxing area to hang out during the busiest part of the day, Positano can be enjoyed throughout the spring and summer.

When we began planning our trip to Positano, we were initially shaken by the sticker-shock of this town. If Positano is part of a larger European vacation, plan to pay a higher per night cost for hotel and food while in Positano than elsewhere. However, we also learned that there are ways to enjoy Positano without splurging for only the most expensive restaurants and activities! Below are our favorite suggestions for planning a fantastic trip to Positano:

Where to Stay in Positano: Hotel Palazzo Murat

Outdoor entry courtyard in a hotel on the Amalfi Coast of Italy

Located in the heart of Positano’s pedestrian-only area, this beautiful hotel is an oasis in the center of Positano’s bustle. Hotel Palazzo Murat provides four-star accommodations in the heart of the town’s pedestrian-only shopping and dining area. With a romantic courtyard, where daily breakfast and cocktail hours are served (often accompanied with live music), Hotel Palazzo Murat is inviting after a day of exploring. In addition to the courtyard, this hotel offers a high-end restaurant, beautiful garden, and lovely pool area.

Guests can choose from a variety of rooms and suites with views of beautiful gardens or ocean views. We highly recommend this hotel because of its proximity to the heart of Positano, welcoming employees, and personalized touch.

Vineyards in the gardens of Palazzo Murat in the center of Positano.

Where to Eat in Positano:

As a town known for its high-end visitors, Positano offers a wide expanse of different cuisines. We were lucky enough to try a wide variety, and have listed our favorites below for you to try:

Breakfast and Evening Aperitifs at Hotel Palazzo Murat:

Outdoor courtyard at Palazzo Murat in Positano, Italy. People sit at tables listening to live music in the early evening.

Guests at the Hotel Palazzo Murat should definitely include breakfast when booking their room. A beautiful buffet offers fresh items such as fruits, pastries, meats, and cheeses. Guests get to enjoy these items (along with a menu of egg dishes ordered from the kitchen) on the hotel’s welcoming patio. We loved enjoying our morning cappuccinos while soaking in the Mediterranean sun! In the evenings, this patio is transformed into Bar le Palazzo Murat, which offers drinks, appetizers, and often live music. Live music nights are a can’t-miss event while you are staying at the hotel!

Le Tres Sorelle

Le Tres Sorelle, which translates to “three sisters” in English, is one of the main restaurants along Positano’s beach-front. With its great location, the restaurant is obviously popular! We especially enjoyed Le Tres Sorrelle because it offered great Italian food at a more reasonable price than many of the other beach-front restaurants.

Tres Sorrelles offers fresh Italian favorites, including antipasti, pastas, and seafood. We enjoyed the Caprese antipasti and fresh pasta dishes at lunch time, while overlooking views of the Amalfi Coast.

Lo Guarracino

Located on a pedestrian trail that connects central Positano to Fornillo Beach (which is a part of Positano, but is located in the next cove over), Lo Guarracino offers great pizza with an even better view. The outdoor restaurant is located on the cliffs above the pedestrian trail. It offers panoramic views of the beach resorts below. We highly suggest visiting this restaurant for lunch one day, simply due to its fantastic location and close proximity to the heart of Positano.

Beautiful ocean views from a pizza restaurant in Positano Italy.

Bucco di Bacco 1916

The front boardwalk in Positano, Italy.

Located on the second floor of the water-front Bucco di Bacco Hotel, this restaurant combines fantastic views with a great menu. We enjoyed a variety of pastas here, including one pasta that had sauce made of zucchini flowers! Of our recommendations, Bucco de Bacco 1916 is definitely one of the fancier restaurants. However, it still offers the laid back friendliness found in traditional Italian trattorias!

Note: Make sure you go to the restaurant upstairs from the main beach boardwalk. There is another pizza restaurant along the beach boardwalk that is located immediately under Bucco di Bacco 1926, but the two restaurants are unaffiliated to each other and completely different!

L’Incanto Bar Ristorante

With a wood deck located directly on the Positano beach, L’Incanto offers unparalleled beach-side dining and a fantastic view of the hillside buildings in Positano. L’Incanto offered plenty of fresh pasta options and several great meat dishes. Eating dinner at L’Incanto was a favorite memory of ours while in Positano.

Casa e Bottega

While Italian cuisine is our favorite type of food, eating Italian at every meal can get a little old! If you are tired of pasta dishes twice a day and need a break, consider visiting Casa e Bottega. This adorable cafe is located a few minutes by foot from the central pedestrian-only center of Positano! This restaurant offers fresh different meal options, such as rice bowls or salads (but for those who can’t go a meal without Italian food, yes there are still pasta options too)! This modern restaurant cafe is a refreshing change, which our hotel concierge couldn’t rave about enough!

Gelato from The Brasserie

As with any Italian resort town, there are plenty of gelato shops in Positano! After trying several, we stumbled across The Brasserie on the very last night in Positano. Our biggest complaint was we hadn’t found it sooner! Located directly on the main path between the ferry terminal and beach boardwalk, this gelato was the most tasty and authentic that we found in Positano. We especially loved the chocolate fondant flavor, a rich dark chocolate gelato (which is actually made dairy free…). We love to pair this flavor with a lighter flavor such as Stracciatella or mint chocolate chip!

Things to Do in Positano, Italy:

As the longtime gem of the Amalfi Coast, Positano and its resorts offer every possible activity you would want in an Italian resort town. While these are only a small sampling of activities to do in Positano, here are our favorite options. These popular activities would be what we would sign up for on our next visit to Positano:

Wander Through Positano

The beach in Positano, Italy. You can rent an umbrella and chair for the day!

Positano did not become the famous heart of the Amalfi Coast for nothing! From romantic pedestrian-only streets to adorable clothing boutiques and ceramic stores, Positano is a lively place to explore. We spent a whole day just exploring the town, shopping in the boutiques, and wandering to scenic viewpoints. Spending time in Positano definitely a must-do, so make sure to not overlook Positano itself for other day trips just because you are staying there!

Enjoy your Resort and the Beach

In our opinion, Positano offers some of the best in-town resorts in Italy. Even with the compact town, countless hotels offer panoramic views, beautiful gardens, and fantastic pools. This is a key reason why we loved the Palazzo Murat! With a beautiful pool area directly next to Positano’s main Cathedral, and a wonderful gardens and patio area, Palazzo Murat offered guests a quiet reprieve from Positano’s busy center. In addition to the pool at Palazzo Murat, make sure to take advantage of the beach in Positano! Consider renting beach chairs at one of the beach clubs along the Positano Beach. Or, you can go over to the neighboring Fornillo Beach in the next cove for a slice of free sand.

The pool at Hotel Palazzo Murat is located right next to Positano’s main church.

Explore Fornillo Beach

Fornillo Beach in Positano, Italy. Chairs line the beach, and a fort sits on the edge of the cliffs.

While still technically part of Positano, Fornillo Beach is located in the next cove. This beach is primarily home to cute three-star hotel, as well as a couple of restaurants and a beach club. Many visitors will come over to this beach because there is a small portion of it not controlled by the expensive beach clubs that are so common along the Amalfi Coast.

Fornillo Beach from the cliffside walking trail.

Our favorite part of this beach is Via Positanesi d’America, the coastline walk that connects Positano’s main beach to Fornillo Beach. If you walk from the Positano Beach past the ferry dock, you will see a pedestrian path that runs uphill. This paved (but steep at times) path offers dramatic views of the coastline. In addition, Lo Guarracino, a pizza restaurant that we mentioned above, offers fantastic views and good food from the cliffs along Via Positanesi d’America.

Rent or Hire a Boat to Explore

The Amalfi Coast is most famous for its dramatic landscape, darling villages, and ritzy visitors. To get the best view of all three, consider renting a boat for a couple of hours (or even the day)! Ask your hotel for the most up to date recommendations on where to rent. For those who would rather enjoy the views than run the boat, several locals also offer sightseeing tours. This can be a better option if you are not very familiar with handling a boat.

Leaving Positano by boat!

Day Trip to Capri

Capri, Italy. This is a wonderful place to day trip from Positano!

One of the most popular places to visit by boat from Positano is Capri. You can either go by private boat or take one of the many ferries that depart each day from Positano. Ferries drop off at Marina Grande on Capri, and from there you can find a boat to go tour the famous Blue Grotto, head to a fancy beach club, or take the funicular up to the main town of Capri, which is located on the cliffs overlooking the water. Also consider taking an open-air taxi (built specifically for Capri) to the hilltop town of Anacapri.

If Positano is considered the high-end resort town of the Amalfi Coast, Capri is its even richer cousin. Capri offers everything from ritzy stores such as Louis Vuitton and Cartier, to simpler souvenir shops, restaurants, and gelato shops. It’s a great day trip from Positano, or can be added as an overnight stop while in the region.

Tour the Amalfi Coast

Of course, no trip to the Amalfi Coast is complete without seeing all of the famous towns on the Amalfi Coast. The best way to do this is to hire a guide for the day. While very maneuverable to the familiar local, the roads and parking options around the Amalfi Coast are difficult for visitors. Luckily, we have the perfect suggestion: Roberto, the owner of Touring Italy.

A fruit stand sits along the water-front on the Amalfi Coast.

Roberto has spent many years perfecting his tours of the region and helped us plan three different day trips on our recent trip to Italy. He offers a variety of tours, including to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and along the Amalfi Coast. In addition, he intertwines fun activities into his tours, such as a cooking class at a farmhouse near Sorrento (our personal favorite experience!) to wine tasting and lunch at a winery near Pompeii.

A woman demonstrates traditional mozzarella making during a cooking class on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

For our day on the Amalfi Coast, Roberto showed us the highlights of the region. We got to stop at a fruit stand with a scenic view of Positano, visit a ceramic store at one of the local factories, and wander around the towns of Amalfi and Ravello.

Positano from the distance. You can stop in turnouts along the Amalfi Coast for amazing views!

Towns to Visit on the Amalfi Coast: Amalfi and Ravello

The grand church in Amalfi, Italy

Amalfi is an ocean-front town located just down the coast from Positano. Amalfi’s large cathedral and busy town center bustles with locals and tourists. With lots of souvenir shops and restaurants, Amalfi is a joy to visit!

A ceramic shop opens onto the main square in Ravello, Italy.

Ravello is the much quieter hillside town above Amalfi. Ravello is centered around a romantic main square that offers several cafes along with a few shops and restaurants. We love that Ravello is a quiet reprieve from the bustle of Amalfi and Positano. Make sure to visit both towns while touring the Amalfi Coast!

Touring the Amalfi Coast: On Your Own or With A Tour Guide?

If you prefer not to hire a private tour guide, you can take a ferry from Positano to Amalfi, and then a bus or taxi to Ravello. However, the combination of ferry tickets and overpriced taxis quickly adds up. Therefore, it may be better to just enjoy the pre-planned and pre-organized itinerary of a good tour guide. If you are interested in learning more about Roberto and his tours, you can find out more on his website: Touring Italy.

We hope these recommendations help you plan your next trip to Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. If you have questions or want help planning your next Creative Journey, please feel free to contact us.